Supply challenges delay P.A. pot store openings

By Glenn Hicks
October 29, 2018 - 5:00pm

If you’re waiting for your legal cannabis purchasing moment in Prince Albert, don’t hold your breath. As one of the city’s two retail permit holders said “after seeing what happened since Oct. 17, I’m not so concerned about not being open anymore.”

Jim Southam always hoped to open his Prairie Cannabis store sometime next month but there’s no guarantee, given the shortage of supply, partly driven by the overwhelming popularity among pot shoppers since Oct. 17 that saw some outlets across the nation run dry.

“I want to give a reliable service to customers and right now they’re not getting that,” he told paNOW. “I don’t want to open one day and close a few days later; I want to open and stay open.”

Despite the supply setback Southam is confident that long-term, product will always be on the shelves.

“You know, Health Canada is fast-tracking licenses for producers so we can alleviate these difficult supply times,” he said. “We’re starting a multi-billion dollar industry and it wasn’t going to be without any bumps in the road.”

Southam was still hopeful for a November opening at his 180 17th St. W. location, but added there was no guarantee.

It’s the same outlook for Shaun Dunphy with Canaba, which is slated to open its store at 3332 Second Ave. W. He figured he might be ready to open in November.

“We’re going to open up when we have good supply, variety and good pricing,” he said. “The day we can have that, then we’ll open our doors but right now we can’t guarantee that.”

Like his local competitor-to-be, Dunphy remained confident the producers would catch up quickly to satisfy the demand.

“Long term I don’t see it being an issue and there will be more options and places to get supply in the coming weeks and months,” he said. "They’re all going through the same thing; a plant is on a growth cycle and it needs time to be ready to be sold.”

In the meantime, both local retailers agree the scarcity of the product drove up prices.

“When supply is short and demand is high sometimes a premium has to be paid, but long term once supply balances out, the prices will definitely come down,” Dunphy said.

Prices at some of the new legal retail outlets have been anywhere from around $10 to $20 per gram depending on strain and Southam figured that would come down over time.

“In 12 to 24 months we’re going to see a lot more producers come on line, and microgrowers getting licensed,” he said. “Production will catch up with demand bringing the wholesale price and then the retail price down.”

 

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